Monday, February 4, 2019

Death in the City Beautiful [3]

Maggie Locascio and the brother-in-law: Oct. 30, 2001

If the twentieth century in Coral Gables had a bloody beginning with the murder of Dora Suggs, so too did the twenty-first century.

On October 30, 2001, just before Halloween, Maggie Locascio drove her Mercedes into the garage of her home at 2806 Granada Blvd., opposite the DeSoto Plaza fountain and just a few blocks from “Fatty” Walsh’s Biltmore Hotel. Returning home with a new hairstyle and a fresh manicure, she was about to start a whole new phase in her life. The following day, she was due to appear in court to end her marriage of 28 years. As part of the divorce settlement, the court would award her fifty-percent of her husband’s assets; however, being a CPA, Maggie knew that her husband, Edward Sr, had declared only a small portion of his vast fortune. In court, the following day, she was scheduled to reveal to the judge where all the other millions were hidden. Unfortunately, she never made it to court.

Her dead body was found sprawled on the kitchen floor. Her head had been brutally bludgeoned, and her body badly kicked and repeatedly stabbed. There was blood everywhere. Her husband lived in a condo on Miami Beach and the security cameras showed him popping out of his condo for no more than a few moments throughout the day and night of the murder. His alibi could not be more solid and the following day, in court, he demanded that the divorce proceedings be dismissed and all his assets unfrozen.

Eventually, blood samples, fingerprints, DNA swabs and a bag full of evidence proved that the murder was committed by Edward’s estranged, younger brother Michael who lived in Charlotte N.C., was unemployed and addicted to pills. The two brothers had not made contact for several years. But then, in the six weeks prior to the murder, they exchanged thirty-nine phone conversations. The condo security camera that proved Edward’s alibi, also showed his blood-spattered brother, Michael, visiting him just two hours after the murder.

Michael was quickly arrested, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Despite constant pressure on the authorities from his son, Edward Jr., it was many years later that Edward Sr. was finally charged as co-conspirator and mastermind of the murder. The evidence was entirely circumstantial; the trial was lengthy and included one of those ‘only-in-Miami’ moments when it was revealed that the lead detective had been sleeping with one of the major witnesses. Despite the lack of a smoking gun, Edward Locascio Sr. was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced, like his brother, to life in prison.

Years later, in a prison interview, Edward Sr. argued that he and his brother had been framed by his own twenty-year-old son, Edward Jr. who would now inherit the mansion on Granada Blvd. as well as all the family millions. For fourteen years following the murder, the house remained empty until the court recently ordered it sold at auction. It is currently in the process of being restored and the blood stains finally removed.

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